#Runoff news: Streamflow peaking around #Colorado

nwsboulder06132016

From CBS Denver (Justin McHeffey):

Peak water runoff is being recorded on most Front Range streams as temperatures climb across the state. Just in the past five days, more than half of our mountain snow has melted at higher elevations. Although we’re expecting even warmer temps through the weekend, streamflow is expected to decrease in the coming days.

The reason streamflow will decline is because there simply isn’t much snow left to melt. Flood Advisories are still active for the Poudre River near Greeley and the canyon mouth near Fort Collins, as well as the South Platte River near Kersey. These are notorious high water zones this time of year, but only minor flooding is expected in low lying areas. Careful around the bike paths that cross under bridges — some of these will remain closed around Ft. Collins until the water recedes.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Arkansas River flows should continue to be heavy for a while longer, although water levels have dropped a little since reaching a high point last week.

“I think we’ll know whether we’ve hit a peak by the end of the week,” said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project for the Bureau of Reclamation. “I think we should be strong through the weekend.”

Looking at the mountains from afar, it would be easy to assume all the snow was quickly melting, but visitors to the backcountry report there is still more available as spring runoff continues. More rain in the next few weeks could create more pressure on the water storage system.

“I don’t think it’s over yet,” said Steve Witte, Water Division 2 engineer. “With the warm weather to come, there’s still a lot of snow up there.”

Flows in the Arkansas River at Parkdale west of Canon City briefly topped 4,000 cubic feet per second last week, then plunged below 3,000 cfs later in the week before leveling out at around 3,500 cfs early this week.

Flows are above average all along the river, but nowhere near last year’s high levels.

“There’s still quite a bit of snow on the spine of the Continental Divide,” said Alan Ward, water resource manager for Pueblo Water.

The Fry-Ark Project has brought in about 28,500 acre-feet of water, about 40 percent of the projected 65,000 acrefeet. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.) “We’ve got a ways to go, but Boustead has been impressive,” Vaughan said. The Boustead Tunnel brings water into Turquoise Lake from the Fryingpan River for use in the Arkansas River basin.

Several factors could tighten storage by mid-July, including how much water is brought over in the Fry-Ark project and other transmountain diversions; how long the river stays at high flows; and how soon farmers need water that is stored in Lake Pueblo.

Some excess-capacity accounts that were drawn down to avoid a spill this spring, such as Aurora’s contract in Lake Pueblo, have begun to refill.

From The Estes Park Trail-Gazette (David Persons):

“We are probably getting past the time for a snowmelt flood,” said Todd Dankers, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder.

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